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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  January 14, 2018 3:00am-4:00am PST

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prairie sod and the wind. >> that's all for this edition of dateline. i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> this is very exciteding. >> they met in vegas, a professional poker player. a former trapeze art iftd. she fell for it, but she didn't gamel on this. >> i could smell the odor of decay and blood. >> or this. >> at every turn there was this. >> married with a child and women in multiple cities. >> what else is he capable of. >> capable of more? he had tan alibi. >> credit kartd transactions and phone records of me drivinging
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from las vegas. >> but could this little card hold the key. >> was this a shot in the dark. >> absolutely. >> he made mistakes. that doesn't make him a monster. >> was there one more card up his sleeve? >> it goes back to him thinking i bluffed some of the best. welcome to dateline. it was a perplexing double murder with no murders and no physical evidence. the victims were a respected couple. their son, it turned out, played poker for a living. could that lifestyle had had something to do with the crime? the case was a mystery until prosecutors examined bloodstained evidence from the crime scene. could that be the key? here's keith morrison.
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it was her first time in las vegas, her first look at that famous strip, its outsized kitsch, its gaudy cavernous casinos with their endless clatter and their darker places where men in black suits hover over the steady calm of high wishful thinkers. her name was adrian solomon and she was here on business. >> i was skriekted to go to see wait was all about. >> she came to plan a medical conference. >> i was probably gone, you know, 50% of the time. >> and now the job hat brought her here to a vast casino all alone. exciting, of course, though buttoned down compared to her previous more skpot iks occupation, teaching the flight trapeze. >> i went to work for club med and worked at the vacation
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resort for seven years, living all over the world. >> i can't imagine what it would be like to have a job where your responsibility is to teach people how to relax and have fun and do it in a wonderful setting. >> it was the best job. >> in which she learned to embrace moments of fun, new experiences, and learn something, too, about how to read people or so she thought. and now she was, april 2006, noisy casino, observing a grabs game. >> a gentleman turned by my side and said would you like me to explain the game to you. he did and we started chatting. i looked to make sure he didn't have a wedding ring as he started to flirt a little bit and he asked if i wanted to have dinner that night. i wanted to go to dinner anyway, so why not. >> her date, ernest scherer,.
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his occupation was rather unusual, he was a professional poker player. >> kind of surprised me that someone with his background would be a professional poker player. >> of course you did something kind of odd too. >> exactly. which i why i had no judgment about it. he said he was making good money at it. >> ernie explained how he had mastered the poker skill cleverly hiding any clues of the cards he was holding. >> he was good at reading people. >> he kept an apartment in southern california, he told her, but spent much of his time in las vegas. >> he gambled enough at the tables. he had a high enough status that he got free rooms and free meals, show tickets. >> and he seemed to be doing it
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all rather responsibly, saving money he told her, for those times when the cards weren't so lucky. >> it was almost like somebody having a sales job that they know sometimes they're going to get a lot of great sales and sometimes they're not. >> she fell for ernie over the next few days of magic time in vegas, and soon a long distance relationship blossomed. they were on the phone every day. there were trips, she to vegas, he to meet her in places like aruba and mexico. and one day ernie told adrian he loved her. >> oh, it was very exciting. >> ernie traveled to adrian's home base several times got to know her family, her mother lynn. >> he was charming, very comfortable with us, us with him. >> we were talking about marriage, looking at engagement rings. >> they talked about children. >> if the first one was a girl, he would love her, but he really
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wanted a boy. >> so it was wonderful. not perfect, of course. what is. ernie's mother a devout mormon did not approve of his poker playing even though his father loved it and played. >> he really seemed to like his father and respect his father. they were very close. >> so why didn't they want to meet her? >> how he explained it to me his mother did not approve of our relationship because i was not mormon and we traveled around together and were living the life of sin. >> a scarlet woman. >> exactly. >> when she did meterny's dad once, it didn't go well. >> we were in the lobby of caesars, he said, this is adrian. he said i know who she is and turned his back to me. >> wow.
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>> i had never been so offended in my life. >> then the bloom had faded. there would never be a marriage or children. >> for the last six months of our relationship, think think we knew it wasn't going to go anywhere. >> and in february of 2008 they broke it auchlt maybe that's why weeks later she didn't hear right away about what happened. >> we have an emergency, we need everybody now. >> what kind of problem? >> i don't snow. >> didn't hear about a grisly double murder or that one of the victims was named ernest scherer. coming up, was one of the victims the man she had loved? >> it didn't seem like something like that could really have happened to someone i know. >> when "dateline" continues. 60% of women are wearing the wrong size pad and
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life's pieces back together. her two-year roman with professional poker player ernie scherer once marriage-bound had finally deflated. she was on a business trip when her phone chirped, text message from an acquaintance. >> she said, i heard about his parents, let me know what i can do. >> adrian got herself to a computer, went online, and saw the appalling story. >> and learned that they had been murdered. it was surreal. it doesn't seem like something like that could really have
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happened to someone i know. >> not her ernie, thankfully, but ernie's parents, ernest scherer and his wife charlene abendroth. in their own house at the castlewood country club. now the house was a cream scene where even the lead detective was horrified by what he saw. >> it was probably the most brutal homicide scene i had ever seen. >> it was march 14th, 2008 when the call came in. >> as i approached the front door of the home, i could smell the odor of decay and blood from quite a distance away. >> and inside was like a war zone, blood everywhere, and the
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battered bodies of two people who had clearly fought for their lives. >> the bodies had suffered extensive, extensive injuries. >> it wasn't just the odor that told the investigators the bodies had been here a while. >> there was a week of worth of newspapers that had been uncollected. >> they narrowed the time of death sometime the evening of march 7th, the time somebody saw them and saturday morning, march 8th. method of death, hard to be sure. no weapon around. but they had been hit by a very blunt instrument and sliced by what must have been a very big sword. was it a home invasion possibly? he was a well known real estate agent known to carry cash around. >> in the victims' bedroom, the
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clothes had been thrown out. >> a decorative sword was missing and two jade statues. but wait a minute. maybe it wasn't a robbery. >> her purse was present on the kitchen table. there was jewelry? >> the father's pants pocket in his bedroom there was a large amount of cash. >> $9,000 in cash rolled up in his jeans pocket. >> and that was untouched. >> untouched. >> so was the crime scene staged to hide something more sinister than robbery. why, for example, did they find that odd and very obvious pattern of bloody shoe prints but only around the bodies. >> and the shoe prints would go back and forth to each victim, but they just disappeared. you were thinking, how did this person get out. >> still, easy enough to identify the foot printds. there was a nike swoosh. a tomahawk, big, maybe close to size 12. who wore them?
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who would do such an awful thing and why. >> in our area, we just didn't have a husband wife in their 60s in a multi-million-dollar neighborhood killed for no reason. >> investigators poked around the scherers' background looking for enemies and motive, and it turns out they had some, or at least ernest did. >> ernie was a very passionate version of his views and he wasn't afraid to let you know how he felt. >> guy houston, a former state assemblyman new scherer for his extreme fiscal conservativive with his work with the republican party and the local school board. >> he did make people angry but it was political, not a personal basis. >> besides, what happened to them, was too ugly even for politics. and as for charlene -- >> i don't know anybody who didn't like here. >> here was a friend from the mormon church. >> her confidence, her command,
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her good heart, her ability to reach out and help people. >> which she'd also been doing professional for decades as an accounts teacher said this colleague at east bay. >> she not only wanted to help a student with their particular subject area, but she wanted to help the students with their career and their life. >> so who was responsible? who knew? not a suspect in sight. >> i instantly got my phone out and sent him a text message. >> is minute adrian heard what happened, she reached out for her ernie. they met for dinner in san francisco that very night. >> even though we weren't in a relationship anymore, we had been friends for a long time. i wanted to be there for him. he was really upset over dinner. i was there to be a listening board for him. >> and that was that. a few days later ernie phoned and was very upset.
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>> he said the cops are starting to harass him a little bit. >> adrian tried to calm him down. i told him the police have to look at family first and that's what they were doing. >> but ernie was a mess and wanted to see her again. >> be a support again. >> be a support again, exactly. >> but adrian had no way of knowing what was coming or what that news would do to her. >> it was horrible. you know, i think i started shaking. what was wrong with me that i didn't see this. >> was it about the murder? >> no. no, it was something else altogether. >>. coming up, revelations about a double life about the man she thought she knew. >> e h did it everywhere he did. >> what else had he done. >> when "dateline" continues. and tiny. and this is laura's mobile dog grooming palace.
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her ex-boyfriend's parents had been murdered, she wanted to be there to supporterny, especially now that he said police were ha rationing him. >> i had known him for years. >> adrian told him he could meet her at her upcoming business trip in dallas. a moment she'll recall with absolute clarity for the rest of
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her life. >> i was in a taxi headed from the airport to the hotel in dallas and my phone rings and it is a detective. >> she listened to him say he was investigating the death of ernie's parents and he had a question. >> and he said, now, i know that you guys have broke up, but can you tell me how long this affair lasted. >> affair? why did he use that word? >> why would you say that? we dated exclusively for two years. >> you don't know what you're talking about, she told him. >> he said, so you didn't know he was married and has a child. and i said what are you talking about. i said to him, why would i believe you? >> but by the time she hung up the phone, adrian knew, she did believe him. >> all of the puzzle pieces came together in my head. >> suddenly it all made sense, why he never wanted her to see his apartment or meet his parents, why his dad snubbed her
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that time at the casino. he had been married all along to a womt name woman named robin a young son ernie iv. and every opinion adrian had of him and her and their judgment flew out of that cab. >> i was a smart person. how could i nout have put that together. we wanted to have kids together. he wanted a boy. he already had a boy. what's going on. >> things happened quickly then. quickly and painfully. >> my phone rang. i said, listen, the cops called. >> he said what did they ask you. >> i said you're married. >> he said it's not a true marriage. let me come and explain it to you. i said, i don't want to. please go. >> he refused. she met him in the lobby. >> then he tried to explain everything away. >> he couldn't, of course.
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she sat there half listening, her equilibrium gone in a world of bad feeling. >> i was hurt and angry with him and myself and it was just -- it was unbelievable to think that those two years had been a sham. >> oh, yes. and, in fact, more than one sham. a whole quilt of shams. detectives back in northern california had begun to uncover details of a double life that had been shall we say prodigious. >> it seem at every turn there was some woman that had an involvement with. >> there were quite a number of them. >> he said he was recently single. >> like pamela nichols who respond toddlerny's ad in march of 2008 in the dating section of craigslist in las vegas. she met him for drinks. >> ernie's personality was very nice, friendly.
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>> the two made plans to have dinner on march 8th but he he canceled. >> he said he needed to go home that his parents' house was burglarized and they were both murdered. >> but in the weeks later his conquests resumed. >> he did utd in las vegas, in new orleans. >> he did it everywhere he went and he got lots of responses. >> did it surprise you? >> it surprised me that he was able to form the level of intimacy very rapidly with so many different women that he did. >> kimberly olson was one of them. kimberly formed a very intimate relationship with scherer. met him in september 2008 six months after his parents' murder. she was at a casino in mesquite, nevada. >> he came over and said he needed a pretty girl to blow on the dice.
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he was a smooth talker. >> now that's a line. >> it was. i fell for it. >> from day one kimberly said it was based on honesty, full disclosure. >> he would tell me the stories about his wife and girlfriend and going back and forth. i said he was a jerk and he made a lot of mistakes. >> of course, ernie also told her about his parents' murder. >> he missed his parents. he'd tell stories about his father and get teary-eyed. >> kimberly got to know him very, very well. >> if you can drive with someone through texas and not want to strangle them, you get to know someone very well. he's really sweet. >> and eventually he moved in with her. >> did you grow to love him? >> i did. i cared for him. >> but that other woman who loved him, adrian solomon, was struggling. >> if he could lie to me every day for two years, lie to my family, look at rings, talk
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about having children together, what else is he capable of. >> but, of course, living a double life doesn't make you a double murderer. those alameda county detectives knew that perfectly well, but as they were discovering, a cheating heart wasn't the only disturbing thing about this professional poker player. coming up -- it turned out he had some other secrets and he was battling some long odds. >> why did he want to get in the house so badly? >> he wanted the will. >> when "dateline" continues. and reward points on prescriptions. so no matter where you're going or who you are, it's worth the trip. we'll help you find low cost prescriptions including zero dollar copays on select medicare part d plans. walgreens. trusted since 1901.
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tense warning in hawaii. an alert of an incoming missile threat telling people to seek shelter. officials sate with us a false alarm trigled by a human error. the number of missing has dropped to five as rescue crews
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work with cadaver dogs and scramble to find those still unaccounted for. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline." i'm craig melvin. as a poker player, ernie scherer was a professional bluffer, keeper of secrets. he head shown he was a practice of deception away from the table as well, holding his cards close. but was he a killer. here again with our story is keith morrison. >> it was to say the least eye-opening when detectives encountered adrian solomon and heard her account of the secret life of ernie scherer iii. >> i was like, he stole two years from me. >> not to mention his early days of fill andering. but this was not a tabloid smackdown.
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ernie's parents had been callously, brutally murdered. as detectives pored over the scanty evidence they encountered a lot of the victims' blood, but not any useful clues. >> we were looking for everything, bloodstain, fingerprints. >> and they found nothing pointing to ernie. >> after all, those nike shoe prints were a size 12 and ernie wore a 9. there was a speck of dna that did not belong to ernie or his parents. there was something odd that happened after the bodies were instructed. ernie showed up december straut asking for entry. no can do, she said, crime scene and all. >> he became demanding and condescending very, very quickly, which surprised me. >> why did he want in the house.
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>> he wanted the will. >> ernie did? >> he did. >> it with us in the desk drawer. >> the will indicated their fairly significant estate would be divided equally between their two children katherine and ernie and they would receive their inheritance at 30. >> did you determine how old he was? >> i did. err necessary scherer iii would turn 30 in july and his parents were killed in march. >> the value of the estate was certainly shrinking right along with housing prices. still was it remotely likely he would kill his parents? you know how some professional poker players claim they win a lot? maybe not. at least not in ernie's case.
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>> we learned that he had 60 some-odd thousand dollars in credit card and also in talking with different casinos, he had lost a significant amount of money in the tune of $80,000 or $90,000 in his play in the last year. >> that was not the worst of it. not even close. by march of 2008 when the murders happened, real estate in california was huffing and puffing on the race to the bottom and six months before that, ernie the son wanted to buy a house in the city of brea in southern california but couldn't get a loan. banks not so sanguine anymore about the security of a poker player. so he boired the money from ern ernie's father, $660,000. real estate started tanking. his father asked him to go to the bank, refinance, pay back his loan and ernie couldn't. >> he was frantic trying to refinance his home. >> and at the time they were
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killed, he had missed a mortgage payment to his parents for the first time. >> so this is approaching some sort of crisis. >> that's what we felt, yes. >> motive? well, maybe. investigators told ernie they wanted to talk and he agreed to come down to the station where he explained that their suspicions were groundless. ernie had an alibi. >> there will be credit card transactions and phone records of me driving from las vegas back to brea, california. >> the night of the murder, said ernie, he was home in southern california hours and hours away from his parents' house. he had driven from las vegas that afternoon. stopped for gas and a bite to eat at mcdonald's in prynne, nevada. yes, there were credit card records to prove it. he went home, fell asleep on the couch, watched tv, his wife and son were away. bright and early the next morning he met his elderly
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grandfather for a bridge tournament which his grandfather ernest i confirmed. >> we asked him, you know, what road did you take to get to your home and he was not able to tell us. we asked him what television show did you watch. he wasn't able to tell us. >> and then when they checked ernie's cell phone records, they found an unusual gap in transmission right around the time of the murders. from the afternoon of march 7th to the early morning of march 8th, 17 hours, 46 minutes, ernie's phone did not register on any cell phone tower anywhere. >> he was just a guy that was constantly talking on his cell phone. so the fact that there's a 17-hour window where he's not using it at all was definitely suspicious to us. >> but as the investigator's suspicions grew just as they felt they might possibly be closing in on something, ernie sheerer iii did appeared.
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following the trail, connecting the dots. police turn up a strange story. coming up -- >> he asked me if i would do something slightly illegal for $300. >> but was it the smoking gun they needed when "dateline" continues. hing new into their homes, they want to know who you are and where you come from. we're almond breeze. and we only use california-grown blue diamond almonds in our almondmilk. cared for by our family of almond growers. ♪ maybe that's why so many people feel so good about inviting almond breeze into their homes. blue diamond almond breeze. the best almonds make the best almondmilk. official almondmilk of the u.s. ski & snowboard team. copdso to breathe better,athe. i go with anoro. ♪go your own way copd tries to say, "go this way." i say, "i'll go my own way" with anoro.
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it was the 23rd of march,
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2008. ernie scherer iii, the person of interest in a particularly violent murder of his parents, quite suddenly got out of dodge. >> he was gone. >> a guilty conscience or an innocent man fed up with negative attention from the cops? but detectives back in alameda county, california, did not panic. ernie probably didn't know it but an enterprising officer fitted his car, his father's car, with a gps tracking device. >> for a majority of the time we knew where he was. >> and his car and if social media sights lead him to a number of women he met, like the one in new orleans who called the police after a strange night from a man who first told her he was writing a novel about a gambler who was the suspect in his parents' murder and his own parents had been murdered.
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and when they returned, he had rigged his hotel room with a bungee cord. >> he was going to break the window of the hotel room and basically propel out of the window. >> did she essentially hightail it out of there? >> no. she chose to stay. >> stay the night. >> she did. >> meanwhile detective due deck called in reinforcements. a deputy boroughed from the local jail for the investigation pored through hours of video taken by a security camera at the scherers' country club and finally there it was. a red chevrolet camaro approaching the scherer home at 8:278 p.m. on march 27th and exits at 12:42 a.m. just when the murders were thought to have occurred. a red chevy camaro with a black top. and wasn't that the very same make, model, and color of ernie
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scherer's car? it sure looked like his car to a cop's eye anyway. the trouble was they couldn't see a driver's plate or driver's face. it wouldn't be enough evidence to persuade a d.a. to charge. there was the forgotten woman, robin. she had been left behind when ernie took off a couple of weeks after the murders. when she saw what the investigators had, she was not only ready to divorce ernie, she told him she would help the police by academy attempting to bluff the poker player. >> hello. >> hi. >> hi. how are you. >> detectives recordeded this phone call in which he tells ernie about the video but chooses to embellish the fact a bit. telling him his face was visible. >> the video i sent to the studio was enhanced and it looks
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like you in your car and it looks like they're saying you with there friday night. were you in the bay area on friday night because i thought you were driving back home and there's this video they have and it clearly looks like your car. >> then a long pause. >> hello. >> i'm just thinking. what -- is it a video like from somebo somebody's house? from a gas station? what kind of video is it? >> it's going into the country club area. >> going into the country club area. >> mm-hmm. and it looks like your car and it looks like you in it. >> you can see the face of the driver. >> yes. were you there? and if you were, you have to give an explanation as to why you were there? are you lying to me? >> i understand. i understand why you're asking the question. i mean obviously -- you nknow -
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>> i guess, i have no idea. >> and in this game of poker, it was hard to say who was playing whom. in the end, there was no smoking gun, but was ernie spooked a little? was that why he reached out again to adrian solomon with this request? >> i'm really hoping we can, you know, end up back together. >> he told adrian he was thinking of changing his lifestyle, quitting poker, if only she would take him back. but she was a different adrian now. >> i think i kind of felt more powerful in that conversation than i had with him in a long time because i know that i don't trust a single word that he says. >> meanwhile back in vegas, detectives learned that just days before the murders, ernie scherer had made a rather unusual request of this man. his name is david mock. >> he asked me if i would do something slightly illegal for
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$300. >> david is a professional piano player in vegas. >> he said, oh, i'm looking to get a gun because i'm a professional gambler and i carry a lot of money. i said, no, i'm not going to do that. >> and investigators discovered ernie also asked david's performance partner to buy a gun and e.r.a. ooffand ernie offed $50,000 to point the spugs away from him and it looked back for ernie. finally a year after the murders the l.a. county d.a. made a decision to roll the dice. it was february 2009. kimberly olson was at home with ernie in their las vegas apartment. >> there was a knock on the door. ernie answered the door. i came out and there was fbi agents with guns drawn. >> ernie scherer was charged with two counts of murder and
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kimberly olson thought the whole world hat gone crazy. >> he was a poker player and made a mistake with women in his life, but that's a very far jump from being a poker player and murdering your parents. >> but back home in south carolina when adrian solomon heard about ernie's arrest -- >> do you believe he could have done such a thing? >> i believe he could have, and that was enough. >> even though the mystery dna at the crime scene was never identified. even though not one piece of direct evidence connected him to any murder weapon or those mysterious nike footprints. remember, they were consistent with a size 12 and ernie wore a 9 1/2 or 10. >> well, and you knew that one of the lines was coming had to be a defense attorney would use is if those shoes don't fit, you must acquit. >> absolutely. >> and a jury just mike look at
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that. >> that went through my mind several times. >> and then someone noticed that little piece of paper right there. what was that? coming up -- >> it was like a shot in the dark. >> absolutely. >> and it hit its mark. a bull's-eye. >> i'm thinking, that's the end of the book. >> but does the gambler have one more bluff in store when "dateline" continues. whose fleece was white as snow. but after an electrical fire from faulty wiring, mary's vintage clothing and designer shoe collection were ruined. luckily, the geico insurance agency had recently helped mary with renters insurance, and she got a totally fab replacement wardrobe at bloomingdale's. mary was inspired to start her own fashion line, exclusively for little lambs. visit geico.com and see how affordable renters insurance can be. when you have a cold, visit geico.com stuff happens. ♪
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welcome back. earner scherer was charged with killing his parents. the evidence against him was largely circumstantial except for a small slip of paper discovered at the crime scene that could be the key to blowing the case wide open. here's keith morrison with the conclusion of "the player." >> it was september 2010, just months before ernie scherer iii was to go on trial for the murder of his parents. prosecutors pored over the evidence scott dudek and his detectives had collected. was there anything else? anything they missed, they might use to seal the case against ernie scherer? and that's when they saw it. something quite odd. >> they came across a piece of paper that we had collected that had blood droplets on it. >> just one small piece of paper, which one of the detectives picked up from the bloody floor of the murder scene a few feet away from the lifeless body of ernie's father,
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ernest scherer jr. it was a warranty card for a baseball bat. that's all it was. no big deal. except when police searched through that house, searched every square inch of it, one thing they did not find was a baseball bat. >> and they just thought it was odd. why would 60-something-year-old people have a warranty for a bat? >> mind you the warranty wasn't just for any old bat. it was for a nike baseball bat. right on the warranty card. they couldn't help but see that same distinctive nike swoosh, just like the ones they saw printed on the floor in blood by those size 12 nike impact sneakers. were they on to something here? >> so they kind of backtracked. they wondered, hey, was there any kind of nike store around where we had getting gas and a hamburger? and they found across the street there was in fact a nike outlet store.
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>> so that was just kind of a shot in the dark? >> absolutely. >> and there it was. a nike outlet store in primm, nevada just yards away from the gas station where ernie used a credit card to fill his tank, and very close to the mcdonald's where he used plastic to buy a burger. this was maybe 12 hours before the murders. possible hitch? ernie did not use a credit card at this or any other nike store that day. so maybe he didn't buy a baseball bat to use on his parents. unless. did he use cash in an effort to hide a purchase at nike? one of the d.a.'s investigators asked nike to check purchase records for march 7th, 2008. and as they say in vegas, jackpot. at 11:38 a.m., just before ernie used his credit card at the mcdonald's and the gas station, there was a cash purchase at the nike outlet.
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one pair of size 12 nike impact tomahawk sneakers, a ripken youth baseball bat and junior match soccer gloves. >> i'm thinking even the most skeptical jury in the world has to realize, put it all together, the book has just finished, that's the ending of the book. >> in january 2011 the alameda county prosecutor told jurors ernest scherer iii was a narcissistic sociopath who savagely murdered his parents in cold blood. >> he is sheer evil. he thinks he's smarter than everybody. >> heavily in debt and desperate for money, ernie's house of cards was collapsing before his very eyes, said the prosecutor, and so he killed his parents for the money, for his inheritance. even ernie's own family unanimously turned against him, including ernest scherer sr., ernie's grandfather, who took the stand on his 95th birthday to testify against his own grandson, his namesake.
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and once again, adrian had a date to see ernie in court. they asked you to testify. >> they did. it was overwhelming and terrifying. >> adrian told the jury about ernie's two years of deception, the double life, all those lies. >> i made it a point not to look at him during the entire time i was in the room and during the entire testimony. >> was it enough for the jury? ernie's defense jumped to its task, arguing that the evidence, the red chevy camaro on the surveillance video, the dead cell phone at the time of the murders, asking his friends to buy a gun, all of that could have been simply coincidence, it could be explained away. and besides, said the defense, there was actual physical evidence to prove someone other than ernie could have committed the crime, the speck of bloody dna found number one of the shoe prints at the crime scene. the prosecution argued it was just a mistake, contamination.
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but did it point to the real killer? as for the so-called jackpot evidence, the cash purchase of the nike sneakers and baseball bat and gloves, who knows who bought those, said the defense, but it wasn't ernie. anyway, those nike sneakers were a size 12 and ernie wore a 9 1/2 or 10. proves he didn't do it, right? and on that point the prosecution had only this. >> he is very proficient at misinformation and disinformation, and i think that he intentionally bought shoes that were too large for him. >> ernie scherer took the stand himself, sat up there for the better part of seven days, confident, often smiling, and claiming it was his lifestyle the prosecution put on trial. >> he's a human. he made mistakes like everybody else does. that doesn't make him a monster. >> would he convince the jury? >> i think it goes back to him
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thinking i'm at a table and there's all kinds of chips on the middle of the table. and you know what? i bluffed some of the best. these 12 people, they're nothing compared to some of the poker players i've bluffed, so i'm going to give it my best. >> the jury stayed out for 2 1/2 days. we spoke with one of the 12 jurors who deliberated and an alternate who sat through the case. >> the defense would argue that in a way the prosecution put this man's lifestyle on trial. i mean, he was a -- >> somebody should. >> raised as a mormon -- somebody should? >> yeah. all other things being equal, his lifestyle counted against him. >> but of course all things were not equal. and although a couple of jurors held out for a while, in the end it came down to this. >> too many coincidences. way too many. >> because taken by themselves -- >> yeah. >> they could be explained. >> they could be. but you put them all together, it doesn't work.
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>> and so ernest scherer iii was found guilty. two counts of first-degree murder. two consecutive life sentences. no parole. his sister, catherine, daughter of the victims, spoke publicly for the first time outside the courtroom. >> it's hard to have to talk about my parents and the loss. they're no longer with me at all. just here. >> do you feel justice was served? >> i don't know. it's hard. it's hard to admit that anybody could do something like that. >> and adrian solomon, the one-time teacher of the flying trapeze, the woman who thought she'd learned a thing or two about reading people, still wonders why she just didn't see it. >> i don't trust my judgment, and i don't trust other people are telling the truth. and that's hard. >> will you ever get that back? >> i don't know. i'm sure -- over time everything's been getting better, but i'm still not ready
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to be trusting everyone so easily. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. good morning, i'm dara brown at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it's 7:00 in the east, 4:00 out west. we made a mistake. the false alarm that triggered 38 minutes of panic in hawaii. >> it's hard to stay calm when you don't know what's happening. >> i wanted to check out and head to the airport because i didn't want to stick around and see if the place was going to get blown up or not. >> i was shaking. it was scary, very scary. >> this morning, what led to the message being sent out. what's being done to make sure it doesn't happen again. and why a normally tranquil place was already on edge. what the president said, or didn't say, about the scare, and his role in the heightened tensions. pl

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